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November 28, 2006

How does Apple continue to do it?

Watch the latest iPod shuffle TV commercial (above).

It's cool and all but one thing keeps slamming me in the face: the idiotstick earphone cord.

It's ugly, not retro; it's unnecessary, what with Bluetooth's ubiquity; it completely overpowers the elegance of the new Shuffle.

So what's with everyone simply swallowing the Kool Aid one more time?

Just how powerful is that Steve Jobs reality-distortion field, anyhow?

November 28, 2006 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


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For those of you interested in loosing the 'idiotstick earphone cords', there was a great bit of news announced earlier this month. Kleer Wireless (www.kleer.com) announced a new wireless audio technology that delivers lossless CD quality audio with ten times the Battery life of Bluetooth. Although the product is only available to OEMs so far, watch out for a few more announcements around CES 2007...

Posted by: SearchingWorks | Dec 28, 2006 9:30:47 AM

I'll agree that the white cords are a great advertising tool, but that's just a marketing side-effect of the technological necessity of wired headphones. Apple says to itself "well, we've got to have these, so let's make 'em unique!" Great idea.

If it isn't a "question of technology", I want to buy a LOT of stock in the company that has created a portable power source superior to the battery.

Posted by: Brian | Nov 29, 2006 11:53:18 AM

I totally agree with Russ. If you take away the white earbud cords, no one will know you are listening to an iPod. I mean, they're getting so small now, the white cords are the only thing you see anymore! :D

Posted by: laura | Nov 29, 2006 11:02:31 AM

Aren't the earphone cords iconic? The silhouette commercials certainly are, and the white cords say "iPod" more than the iPod itself because they represent the whole iPod family. And if you're using them plugged into an iPod in your pocker, you're still advertising iPod to people who otherwise would be unaware - dropping them would be like taking the Walkman logo off Sonys' portable cassette players.
So I don't think it's a question of technology; but I think you knew that already.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 29, 2006 10:28:27 AM

Not to mention the size of the smallest bluetooth earbuds ...
Its more like hanging a saltine from your ear canal.
Sorry Joe ... bluetooth ain't the answer ... yet.

Posted by: Dag | Nov 29, 2006 1:27:54 AM

word, Brian.

It's also a matter of simplicity.

each earphone would need recharging. ...and could you imagine having 2 separate bluetooth earphones? because apple sure as hell isn't going to start using 1980's over (or around the back of) the head earmuffs...

show me an inexpensive set of bluetooth EARphones (not bulky ugly headphones) with GOOD sound quality. ...and then explain to me why nobody owns them.

i tend to agree with you, but i think this time you're waaaay off base.

Posted by: Jeffrey M Foster | Nov 29, 2006 1:22:54 AM

It's not a matter of bluetooth, or speaker technology, or price.

It's simply a matter of battery power.

The vast majority of the shuffle's battery is consumed by the audio output section, not the flash drive. Switching to a cordless headset requires additional battery power... in both ears. Which is heavy, cumbersome, and yet two more things that would require recharging.

Until the 100+ year old technology of the chemical battery is supplanted by something better, we'll still have to deal with ugly cords.

Posted by: Brian | Nov 28, 2006 8:36:08 PM

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